Brookline Commission on Disability

Concerns about the MBTA, Fall 2020

The flyer above states the following:

Attention! The MBTA is facing some hard choices about service cuts to cope with COVID-related budget shortfalls. If you have concerns, please go to and use the general feedback form at the bottom of the page. 

If you need assistance expressing your concerns, please contact Brookline's ADA Coordinator, Sarah E. Kaplan, at

Brookline's Commission on Disability & Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations. 

How to Guide a Person With Vision Loss

The Town of Brookline, Massachusetts has just released a new instructional video telling and showing via demonstration clips how to guide a person with vision loss in a variety of everyday situations. This video is free to all and may be used by any agencies, organizations, groups, or individuals who find it useful. 

Many people would like to assist a person with vision loss when appropriate but hesitate because they do not know-how. People with vision loss often turn to strangers in various public places for assistance in getting to their desired location, whether it is to cross the street or to find an elevator in an office building or hospital. This new video offers standard instructional guiding techniques for people to understand the best approaches on how-to guide someone with vision loss. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, maintaining social distance when guiding a visually impaired person can be challenging. Modifications to the standard guiding techniques are recommended as we work together to mitigate the transmission of the virus. When guiding a visually impaired person, both the individual and the guide should be wearing masks and be facing in the same direction, so their breath is not directed towards one another. Using a glove can protect from skin-to-skin contact. 

"Educating the public on how to guide people safely with vision loss makes everyone more comfortable. These suggested modifications necessitated by the pandemic are certainly timely, said Paul Saner, Co-Chair of Brookline's Economic Development Advisory Board, and former Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. "A sighted guide providing access while respecting social distancing furthers inclusion," he continued. 

Additional ideas for safe guiding while social distancing can include placing a hand on the guide's back instead of the arm, putting a shopping cart between the individual and the guide with the guide in front, using an adequately sanitized extra cane, as a guiding pole with each person holding one end, and verbal guiding from behind the person with vision loss. The person with vision loss should also be using their usual mobility aid, such as a cane or guide dog, for added safety. 

Produced by the Town’s Commission on Disability, along with Brookline Age-Friendly Cities TV and Brookline Interactive Group, the video is simple and offers repetition in the demonstrations to make learning and remembering easy.

Appearing in the demonstration video are Paul Saner, Brookline Town Meeting member, Co-Chair of Brookline's Economic Development Advisory Board, and former Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, and Michael Allen, LCSW, Social Worker at the Brookline Senior Center. The video is narrated by Sassy Outwater-Wright, Executive Director, Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. 

  • Saralynn Allaire, Chairperson 
  • James Miczek, Deputy Chairperson 
  • Henry Winkelman
  • Robert Heist 
  • Ann Kamensky
  • Joan Mahon 
  • Elaine Ober
  • James Lee
  • Nancy Moore
  • Select Board Member Heather Hamilton

COVID-19 Resource Guide for Brookline residents with disabilities

Do you have PCAs? Are you in need of PPE?

PPE is available for PCAs free of charge from SEIU. Go to and register to get masks if needed. First come, first served. Supplies are limited. 

Check with your insurance provider (MassHealth or otherwise) regarding gloves or other PPE. Gloves are often covered by insurance. You can get a prescription through your doctor sent directly to your local pharmacy, and they will fill it. Some pharmacies have programs to deliver prescriptions if needed.  

Town of Brookline Parking Map with Handicap Parking Spots 

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The mission of the Brookline Commission on Disability is to enhance the quality of life for all persons with any form of disability. We strive to learn about and rectify obstacles on Brookline’s streets and sidewalks, barriers in public and private buildings, or a lack of full compliance in programs, services, and activities which may impede full access and equal opportunity for all citizens. The Commission seeks to foster a town culture in which the needs of all persons with disabilities are understood and addressed.

AAB Variances

Please send copies of AAB Variance applications to BCOD Chairperson: Saralynn Allaire 157 Bellingham Rd Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Agendas & Minutes

Agendas are available prior to the meetings. Minutes are available following approval.
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